The main winners of the 15th FEST New Film Festival, which ended in Espinho, are the feature film ‘System Crasher’ by Germany’s Nora Fingscheidt and the documentary ‘Gods of Molenbeek’ by Finland’s Reetta Huhtanen.
The first of these films received the Golden Lynx for its approach to the situation of a girl who is entrusted to the system of protection of minors and faces the service gaps when she reveals psychotic episodes motivated by a deep trauma, and the second one was distinguished with the same statuette for a story that confronts the childhood of two young men from a Brussels neighborhood with the adult context of jihadist activity.
Still, in terms of long-running competition, the jury also awarded an honorable mention to ‘Born in Evin’, in which Iranian filmmaker and actress Maryam Zaree herself records her personal quest to find out the actual circumstances of her birth in that which continues to be one of the leading establishments for political prisoners worldwide.
The same film also received the Cineuropa Public Award for Best Feature Film, while the short-screen choosers’ choice fell on ‘Daughter’ by Polish director Mara Tamkovich, who, at the time of the #metoo campaign, tackles the reaction of a father to the inadequacy of the judicial system after his 16-year-old daughter is the victim of a violent physical attack.
Other prizes in the international categories were the Silver Lincas for Best Short Film for ‘Mistérios da Carne’, by Brazilian Rafaela Camelo in the Fiction category, and for ‘Liminaali & Communitas’ by Finnish Laura Rantanen, while better ‘short’ documentary.
In the specific line of experimental films, the Lynx went to ‘Bloom’, by Frenchman Emannuel Fraisse, and in Animation, for ‘You are overreacting’, by Polish Karina Paciorkowska.
There were also honorable mentions for short films ‘023_Greta_s’ by German Annika Birgel, ‘The Handover’ by German Leonhard Hofmann, ‘The Dam’ by Polish Natalia Koniarz and ‘Applesauce’ by autograph Alexander Gratzer.
The exclusive competition for Portuguese filmmakers, in turn, comprised only short films and of the 15 works evaluated by the jury, which deserved the National Grand Prize was ‘No Threshold of Thought’, by Antonio Sequeira.
The director’s debut at FEST was highlighted by his portrayal of a teenager who, dreaming of going to university, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, resulting in an intense family drama starring Paula Lobo Antunes and Afonso Lopes. The project was financed by municipalities of the Vale do Sousa and had the partnership of the Portuguese Society of Mental Health Nursing and the Regional Section of the North of the Order of Nurses
Still in the Portuguese competition, the jury also attributes an honorable mention to Débora Gonçalves ‘Teus Braços, Minhas Ondas‘.
As for the NEXXT category, which distinguishes the Best Academic Film, the winner was ‘Elephantfish’ by Belgian Meltse Van Coillie, but honorary mentions were awarded to ‘Adjournment’ by Nina Marissiaux, also from Belgium, and ‘Sister’ a Chinese-American co-production directed by the Chinese Siqi Song.
FEST has also awarded three versions of the FEST Public Award, which is decided by hundreds of children and young viewers, all of whom are in the same age range as the target audience for the films they are targeting.
In the Under-10 section, he won ‘The Ape Man’ by Belgian Pieter Vandenabeele; in Sub-14, ‘Birthplace’, an Indonesian production of the duo Sil van der Woerd and Jorik Dozy, based in the Netherlands and Singapore; and in the U-18 mode, ‘Like’, by American director, producer and costumer Scilla Andreen.
The 15th edition of FEST began on June 24th and took several Espinho spaces to 257 films in competition, as well as several parallel activities, such as panoramic sessions, outdoor films, concerts, a book fair on cinema and demonstrations of reality virtual. In addition to pitching sessions for professionals and debates on the current industry, the event also included a training program involving about 800 participants from different countries.